It doesn’t even matter if you have the best self-confidence in the world or if you have a hard time even trying on sunglasses that could potentially look ridiculous, making the switch from regular to maternity clothes, ESPECIALLY for the first time, is a rollercoaster ride of emotions for all. And since I now live by a super cool theme park and WISH I could go ride the huge rollercoasters but I can’t, allow me to explain using a rollercoaster analogy, because that’s the closest thing I’ll get to riding a real rollercoaster for a while.
Here’s how my maternity rollercoaster ride goes:
You know when you pull up to an amusement park and you can see the rides over the trees and you’re like “YES! That rollercoaster is HUGE! AGGHH I’M SO EXCITED! Let’s just ride it first because it’s obviously the best ride! Actually, let’s save it for last because once we do it everything else will seem so lame!” And then you go on to compare it to other rollercoasters you’ve ridden or seen or heard of and that ONE guy who lived by the best Six Flags in the Universe starts telling you “well, nothing beats blah blah blah” and then you just roll your eyes.
This is the excitement phase; from approximately the moment you find out that you’re pregnant to about week 16(ish).
When I first found out I was pregnant, this was the online-maternity-clothes-shopping, Pinterest-binging-for-outfit-ideas, sorting-and-organizing-my-closet-by-wardrobe-items-that-will-still-work-when-my-belly-is-big, phase. I’d see pregnant celebrities on the cover of magazines or online and thought they looked so glamorous, and that they were just glowing, and that I just couldn’t WAIT to have that belly and those clothes and that glow. I wanted to ride that ride.
And then I entered the park, and approached the ride…
“Um, this thing is a LOT bigger than it looked from the parking lot and is that rust? Do you see that, is that rust on the tracks? Do you think that’s safe? Does it sound kind of squeaky to you? Eww, did they just barf? Ugh.”
In my pregnancy language, this translates to:
“Um, this thing is a LOT bigger than it looks on the clothing models and Pinterest images. Do you see that, is that a stretch mark? Does my bump look kind of lopsided to you? Ugh, I feel like I’m gonna barf. But am I glowing?”
This is the actualization phase, from weeks 16 to 25(ish).
Basically, once there actually WAS a bump, (despite all of those Facebook pictures that claimed to be my 10 or 11 week “bump” that was probably actually just the mass amounts of Olive Garden I just ate), I realized it wasn’t quite as glamorous as I thought from the parking lot. As it turns out, gaining weight and swelling on only one part of your body disproportionately to the rest of your body is a lot harder to deal with and MUCH less glamorous than the pregnant Kardashian sisters make it seem (cause I swear, one of them is always pregnant at any given point in time).
And those clothes that I set aside that I THOUGHT would still work with my baby bump? Yeah, they don’t. I go to buy those clothes online that I had gushed over earlier and what do you know? Dropping hundreds of dollars on clothes I’d only wear for a few months isn’t that appealing after all.
And perhaps the most intimidating of all…panel pants. They don’t seem that bad on the models but when I held those suckers up for the first time I honestly wondered if I somehow had to put them over my head to get all that extra fabric on.
Uh oh, now I’m at the front of the line…
“This. Is. AWESOME! What was I so afraid of? LOOK NO HANDS WAAAAHHHH!!! I WANNA RIDE THIS ALL DAY! Front row next time? Yeah? You down?”
This is the acceptance phase, from weeks 26-36(ish).
Maternity clothes are the GREATEST! And you know, they aren’t THAT expensive after all. You can find great deals on cute stuff at any big department store or an off-price retailer like Ross or TJ Maxx. Or if you’re more fashion-savvy than I am there are dozens of specialty maternity stores to choose from.
But towards the end…
The speed, the drops, and the thrill are over - you’re ready to get off. The car has been slowing down for what seems like ages and it’s kind of urching and jerking and making you sick and you kind of just want to get off ASAP and WHAT THE HECK IS TAKING SO LONG!
This is the anger phase, from weeks 36-40+(ish).
Those stretchy clothes just aren’t quite stretchy enough. Those marks and lumps and unevenness and soreness are taking their toll. This is the “I just want my old clothes and body back and for this baby to be here!” phase. There’s some guilt with this phase, too. I feel bad for wanting it to be over; I know what a blessing it is to be pregnant. But that doesn’t make being HUGE any less uncomfortable, or those clothes fit any better, or my balance and coordination any better, or for heaven’s sake, make my BOOBS hurt any less!
…And then that baby DOES come! You forget all about the rollercoaster and the whole amusement park, that baby is perfect and your heart just grew ten sizes and you can't imagine what life was like before he/she came. You leave the amusement park (hospital) and you reflect back on how great it was and wow, what an experience… but you’re friggin’ tired and SO happy to be going home!
Then after a while, someone mentions the amusement park again… and it’s been long enough that you’ve forgotten about the anger phase and you’re kind of in the mood for another rollercoaster ride… ;)